An invite for a few drinks on the weekend of 16th -17th May took me on an impromptu trip to Faversham where I ended up at the Magna Carta event. Most of my time was spent with the wonderful circus troupe that are Amaze-balls Juggling, a trio of local performers who do everything from juggling to fire breathing and even fire eating!
The troupe consists of three artists. Lee Austen – the founder of Amazeballs. A man who is full of energy and youth and a catalyst in many situations. Mathew streeting aka Jinx – a dreadlocked juggling and photo enthusiast who is always smiling and making people laugh and Spyro – the name being due to that of his love for fire and pyro.
Headed by Spyro, who leads them into their acts and describes some of the techniques used in juggling, together the trio wow the crowds.
The day started out early morning for their first show of the weekend which was about a 15 to 20 minute set. It started with Spyro, Lee and Mathew showing some examples of juggling including Spyro demonstrating that juggling balls can hurt if you hit yourself in the face with them. They then moved onto juggling clubs and passing to each other, a few competitions between the artists went on to see who could juggle for the longest or do the best tricks. Throughout the day it seemed to be Lee winning for the most part!
Unlike some groups who all do the same stuff these guys are different in the fact they all have their own styles and strengths. This was shown off as Mathew took the spotlight with his poi. Of course things were about to get more challenging for the troupe which was encouraged by Spyro shouting ‘More Danger’ only for it to be shouted back by the children at the front.
Surely enough more danger was thrown in, sometimes they will get someone they know to stand in the middle of them as they throw clubs over their heads. Unfortunately this time I saw a pair of eyes looking at me and as much as I tried to object, before I knew it I was standing between Spyro and Lee as they begun to throw clubs around and over me. Scary? yes, exhilarating? For definite!
After about 5 minutes of me worrying if I’d get hit on the head, it was over and they were moving onto the next level of danger. This involved juggling clubs and knives and from the reactions of the crowd the dangerous stuff was highly anticipated and loved by all ages.The trio did a few more shows that day of similar stuff, although the same people still returned as did others who hadn’t seen them. People seemed to flock to the centre of Faversham to watch the troupe do their stuff, children were wowed and in awe and adults alike found it all very amaze-balls as they would say.
As the evening came to an end, I walked back to the town to catch the last act of the night. It was one of beauty and amazement as the town was lit up by fire. Nearby a band were playing classic rock covers such as Bon Jovi and Guns ‘N’ Roses. The music fueled the troupe all the more. Staffs were lit up with fire, thrown into the air as the ‘burn off’ lit up the night sky. Spinning and fire-breathing were to follow.
Spyro a master at fire-breathing is perfectly suited to his name, whilst we saw Mathew demonstrate fire-eating and he and Lee spun fire poi and staffs then to be joined by Spyro. The staffs spun fast and created fire patterns. Although what would a performance be without fire juggling?
Some of the children from earlier had come to see the excitement and soon the crowds again surrounded the trio. The music kept them going and soon they were dancing with the fire as they spun, threw, caught and breathed fire. Once the fire was done Mathew went to sit in front of the gathering of children with a contact ball described to be like one you would see if you were to watch David Bowie in The Labyrinth. This is one of my particular favourites as it goes and looks beautiful.
Some of my photo’s show this. The ball ran between his hands, over and under then was taken over by Lee. As much of a great artist Mathew is, Lee has more experience with this. Mathew took the stage behind Lee as the clear, crystal looking ball delicately balanced and was manipulated between his hands. It is hard to describe this or how it looks and is definitely one to be seen with your own eyes if you’re ever given the chance.
Mathew spun LED poi balls – as I already pointed out, this is a major strength of his and Spyro then joined to juggle with them. This topped off an amazing and beautiful finale along with the music that played close by. By far this must have been a highlight for many who visited the Magna Carta weekend.
The next day the trio did a few more juggling shows during the daytime, with some of the same things from the previous day but with ‘more danger’. Although no fire followed that evening which I am sure dissapointed some who had seen their previous nights show.
Amaze-balls are an enthusiastic bunch and are very like minded, they put on a show to wow and awe all who see them and I would highly recommend watching them if you get the chance. Even if you have to travel to see them it is worth it. If you have a party, a birthday, an evening event in a park or a festival I would also very much recommend booking them for your event no matter what it is.
So, you may still be asking who is this writer? Well, I am doing this as a guest writer for The Alt Entertainer although I do hope to become a more permanent fixture after this. I am a recently started out photographer with passion and fire for both writing and photography, I do everything from wildlife and nature to some darker stuff although I mainly wish to make a carer in entertainment and live music which was very much encouraged by Amaze-balls.
My name is Anne-Marie Harris. I am the owner and sole photographer for Pixography and I am very honoured to have been asked to do this piece as well as having been able to photograph at the Magna Carta weekend. It has been a pleasure and I do hope to be writing another piece for you all to read soon.
To find out more about Amaze-Balls Circus visit their Facebook page.
Words by Anne-Marie Harris